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Noisy bagpiper arrested on the Royal Mile for playing too loudly

A noisy bagpiper was arrested in front of shocked tourists after playing “too loudly” in the centre of Edinburgh.

John McDonald was busking on the Royal Mile on Sunday, one of the city’s busiest tourist thoroughfares, leading from the castle to the Queen’s official residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

He was approached by officers as part of a crackdown on noisy street performances and warned about his sound levels.

He is understood to have been arrested after refusing to give his details to officers from Police Scotland.

A police spokesman said they actively encouraged responsible busking on a street that is popular with performers throughout the summer, especially during the city’s festivals in August.

She added: “Police in Edinburgh have received complaints from local residents and a councillor about excessive noise from bagpipe buskers on the Royal Mile over the last month.

“Officers engaged with the buskers asking them to consider only playing on six days of the week to give local residents some respite on one day.

He was cuffed by police in front of shocked tourists 

“On Sunday June 4 officers from the city centre Community Policing Team observed a bagpiper busking at Castlehill.

“The noise level was clearly excessive. The busker concerned was told to stop playing and issued with a ‘yellow card’ warning which outlines the relevant legislation.

“Once a recorded police warning has been issued, officers are required to record the busker’s details. The busker refused to comply with this and he was arrested. He was released later in the day.”

Thomas Wilson, 28, another piper who saw Mr McDonald being detained, told the Sun the incident was “disgraceful”, adding: “None of us want hassle from the police.

“When they asked him for his details he refused, rightly in my opinion as he had done nothing wrong.

“Buskers on the Royal Mile know neighbours don’t always appreciate it so we try to keep the level below 80 decibels.

“We all play with bagpipes that output at half level, that’s the noise of an ambient street. We are trying to respect the local businesses.”

Officers engaged with the buskers asking them to consider only playing on six days of the week to give local residents some respite on one dayPolice Spokesperson

Police and the city council launched the card scheme last summer to help tackle anti-social behaviour, including excessive noise levels.

One survey last year found Edinburgh was the fifth worst city in the UK for complaints about noise, with Kensington and Chelsea at the top of the list.

Over 14,300 complaints were made in the Scottish capital between 2015 and August 2017.

Joanna Mowat, a Tory councillor in the city centre, said at the time that the problem was how to “balance residents’ rights to enjoy peace and quiet in their own home with the desire to make Edinburgh a vibrant city”.

However the incident prompted an immediate response online, with many criticising the authorities for “pandering to a tiny percentage of Edinburgh’s public”.

Scott Cockburn wrote: “If you rent or buy in High St, do you think it’s a quiet flat? Ridiculous. Council should be representing majority and tourism rather than handcuffing pipers. Madness.”

Marion McLaren, said it was “ridiculous” to use the hard-pressed resources of Police Scotland to chase buskers when the force did not “have enough officers and money to tackle real offences”.

There was also some support for the action of the police, with Wes Murdiff saying that that in order for a yellow card for noise pollution to be served, personal details are required.

He added: “To refuse to give your details is…obstructing a police officer during the course of their duties.”

Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/08/noisy-bagpiper-arrested-royal-mile-playing-loudly/

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